Erin Brockovich sat down with county and community leaders Thursday morning to talk about the discharge of the unregulated chemical GenX in the Cape Fear River.
Beth Markesino with Wilmington's Stop GenX in our Waters said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White, Governor Roy Cooper and other local and state leaders were invited to attend.
Senator Michael Lee and Commissioner White sent representatives to the meeting at the NHC Government Center. County Commissioner Skip Watkins, however, was the only elected official to attend.
"I informed them that CFPUA is partnering with UNCW to find out what else is in our water. I told them about the three new filtration systems we are testing, to make sure, I'm on the CFPUA board, to try and filter the water out. So I walked away today with a good feeling," Watkins said.
Watkins said Brockovich and Robert Bowcock, a water expert, were complimentary of Cape Fear Public Utility Authority's treatment processes during the meeting. Watkins is a board member at CFPUA, and said he was there to listen to advocacy groups about concerns over GenX.
"It's a No. 1 concern in public health in our area. Nobody is letting it go aside," Watkins said. "Today I felt good letting those advocacy groups know that."
Brockovich said she and Bowcock were grateful to see the community coming together about water concerns.
"Everyone is circling together now to figure out the most feasible, productive, open, honest, transparent way. What we're doing with this chemical, what our future looks like, and that's great," she said.
Brockovich told Watkins she plans to return to the area.
“We as people have gotten very comfortable and complacent that we turn on the tap and we’re going to have good water," she said. "It’s a very complex system, and for them to see with their officials the complexity of getting you that water brings back a mutual respect, to seeing that commissioner be a human because it’s their children too."
The meeting followed a forum featuring Brockovich at UNCW Wednesday night.
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